Geeks in a Corner, Talking Tech
June 23, 2012 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 17: WWDC 2012 – Part 3 – Macbook Pro with Retina Display

Play

 

Specifications (Full specifications at Apple)

  • Thinner 15″ Macbook Pro with 4 times the resolution (2880 x 1800)
  • Quad-core Intel Core i7 (starting at 2.3GHz)
  • SSD based (starting at 256GB configurable to 768GB)
  • 8GB RAM
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000 & NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M (1GB)
  • 7 hours battery life
  • 2 x Thunderbold ports, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x full HDMI port, 1 x full SD card slot, 1 x headset port
  • 720p HD FaceTime webcam, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0

More features at Apple.com

Brunei Prices (via AV Electronics Facebook)

  • B$2988 (cash price): 2.3GHz Intel Quad Core i7, 256GB, 8GB RAM
  • B$3788 (cash price): 2.6GHz Intel Quad Core i7, 512GB, 8GB RAM
Links

Other notes

  • All laptops (Macbook Air and Macbook Pro) upgraded to new the newer Ivy Bridge chipsets and get USB 3.0 ports
  • Macbook Pro 17″ discontinued but still available in 13″ & 15″ (non-retina)
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February 15, 2012 by thewheat

bdfone A2W: The Brunei-made Android phone

It seems that bdfone has finally released their first Android phone: the bdfone A2W. I previously mentioned them having a prototype over 1.5 years ago but it seems that they have finally got a production unit. From their Facebook page it seems to have started selling in December (in my last of connectivity, I must have missed it). It is currently priced at B$290 on QQeStore

bdfone A2W - Android phone

They have hit a good price point, but with an older version of Android (not even 2.3) and a relatively old and slow CPU, it seems to lose out to the competition. There is also no mention of resistive or capacitive screen, just a “touch screen”. I also wonder how they will support Android updates or if they will at all. For the price I would recommend the Sony Ericsson WT19I Live with Walkman for B$308 (which has better specs) or even the LG Optimus Net P690 for B$268 (which has very similar specs).

Good

  • Brunei made Android phone
  • Decent Price

Bad

  • Competitors with better specs in the same price range
  • Old slow 600MHz CPU (other budget phones use 800MHz)

Ugly?

  • Unknown screen type
  • Unknown Android update possibilities
  • Unknown available space for apps

Specifications

  • Android 2.2
  • CPU: 600MHz (based on Wikipedia’s entry on the MSM7227)
  • 3.2 HVGA (480×320) screen
  • 512MB + 256MB Memory
  • 3.0M Camera
  • 1500mAh battery
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi, T-Flash Card aka microSD card (up to 32GB support)
  • Mini USB 2.0 for Data / Charger / Audio
  • Frequency band support: GSM: 900/1800/1900, WCDMA/HSDPA: 2100

Note: image taken from bdfone website. I’m not sure how to license images like this and thus I am following Wikipedia’s policy similar to the usage of the Portal 2 logo. If there are any lawyers who could advise, please let me know.

 

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December 20, 2011 by thewheat

Huawei Ideos X5

Huawei Ideos X5

I managed to take a look at the Huawei Ideos X5 that I first laid hands on at the TechXpo 2011. It is a very decent device at an affordable price of B$399. My only gripe is the lack of a front facing camera which means you will not be able to do normal video chats. If it had a front facing camera, this device would be one of the best budget Android phones. It has a bigger and higher resolution screen compared to the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro and thus makes it a good size for thumb typing, even for those with fat fingers like mine. Overall a very decent device, with 450MB+ for applications (a lot of space for a budget device), but I fear that there will be no official Android version updates.

(YouTube link to video)

The Good

  • A decent Android device at B$399 with larger and higher resolution screen compared to some cheaper phones
  • High resolution 3.8″ WVGA (800×480) screen
  • Support for Flash
  • On customer request the device will be rooted and upgraded to Android 2.3 running CyanogenMod

The Bad & the Ugly

  • No front facing camera
  • There are cheaper phones with front facing cameras
  • May not have Android updates

Specifications

  • Android 2.2 / Android 2.3 (upgrade to 2.3 upon customer request)
  • 3.8″ WVGA (800×480) capacitive multi-touch screen
  • 1GHz CPU
  • 460+MB available for apps
  • RAM 350MB+
  • 5 megapixel camera with flash (no front facing camera)
  • microSD card slot
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Micro-USB connector

Note: We would like to thank TenTen for allowing us to film this at their shop in Kiulap. TenTen offers many Huawei and they also have battery packs for your iDevices or generic battery packs with a USB output to charge for your phone

Sample Photo (max resolution: 5 megapixel 2592×1944)
sample photo from Huawei Ideos X5 2592x1944

Sample Video (max resolution: HD 720p, 1280×720, m4v with h264 and aac mono encoding)

(YouTube link to video)

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November 30, 2011 by thewheat

The bmobile Pure budget Android Phone

The bmobile Pure is a budget Android phone running Android 2.2 and has pretty device specs but a pretty good 3.8″ high resolution screen. The high resolution 3.8″ screen makes it nice to read and surf the Internet but the 256MB RAM may be limiting for multi-tasking and general smoothness of the device. I was not able to get the Flash apk to try install and test Flash on the device but the 600 MHz CPU may not be capable of Flash, so I wouldn’t expect it to run.

Sadly there is no Android Market or Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Maps and the Market. Not having the Market means that the device needs an alternative Android app store. The Pure is bundled with the local grown Widget Warehouse for apps, however it seems that the Widget Warehouse doesn’t even work with the Pure. So I guess there is a need to rely on other 3rd party app stores such as GetJar, Soc.ia Mall (previously AndAppStore), SlideME, Opera Mobile Store. Side loading apps via downloading apk files (Android installer files) work well and that was how I installled apps to the device.

I love the fact that Android is able to scale down to a device as cheap as B$199 and with that device, although having limitations such as not having Google apps, it still has all the full functionality of a smartphone.

Video Overview

(YouTube link to video)

The Good

  • Cheap at B$199 (existing b-mobile customers) / B$229 (non-existing customers pay an extra B$30 for a Yes! prepaid mobile broadband starterpack)
  • High resolution 3.8″ WVGA screen
  • 2 stage dedicated camera button

The Bad & the Ugly

  • No Android Market or Google apps (Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Market)
  • No 3.5mm headset jack
  • Locked to b-mobile
  • Not likely to get any updates

Specifications

  • Android 2.2
  • 3.8″ WVGA (800×480) capacitive multi-touch screen
  • 600 MHz CPU
  • ROM 512MB (260+MB available for apps)
  • RAM 256MB
  • 5 megapixel camera with flash (no front facing camera)
  • microSD card slot
  • 3.5G handset
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Mini-USB connector
  • 1500mAh battery

Sample Photo (max resolution: 2592×1944, 5 megapixel)
bmobile pure sample photo - 5mp

Sample Video (max resolution: 640×480, VGA, 3gp with h264 and amr encoding)

(YouTube link to video)

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November 23, 2011 by thewheat

The Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

Acer Aspire S3

I stumbled upon the Acer Aspire S3 at Netcom at the Mall and it being the first Ultrabook in Brunei, I just had to take a look and play around with it.

It is a 13″ ultrabook which a form factor similar to the 13″ Macbook Air meaning it is thin and light but without an inbuilt DVD drive. Ports are similar to the Air with two USB 2.0 ports, one full HDMI port, SD card reader and a 3.5mm headset jack.

Based on reviews (LaptopMag, The Verge, Engadget) I knew that a few things to look out for were the keyboard, cursor keys as well as the touchpad. I found the keyboard to be fine but the touchpad was hard to press. It has no physical buttons but pressing the lower left or lower right sections of the pad acted as left and right mouse clicks. It can be configured to “click on tap” as a usable workaround although this still isn’t ideal for drag and drop actions. The cursor keys are indeed the smallest I’ve seen: 3 cursor keys side by side is of the same length as a single Shift key. This is surely too small for typical use.

The quick resume worked as advertised, with the laptop being on by the time the screen was at a viewable angle. The base (i.e. cheaper) model comes with a hybrid drive which combines a solid state drive with a conventional hard disk drive to try give the best of both worlds: SSD for faster disk access (faster boot up, stand by, resume times) and the typical HDD gives you space to store all your files as SSDs are expensive and have less capacity.

All in all I liked form factor of the device but was initially put off by the price of B$1778 which I was told as the based model price. However after the recording I found out that the price of B$1778 was for the higher specification model, not the base model. According to Concepts’ pricing the base model is B$1188 which is much less than the B$1728 or B$1328 for a 13″ or 11″ MacBook Air thus it may be a good deal for those who want a thin and light but capable but with a large enough screen for viewing your content. Do have a look at the device and take into account that this is a first generation device and that Acer competes more on price than actual quality.


The Acer Aspire S3 spotted at Netcom in The Mall for B$1778 (mp3)

Specifications

  • 13.3″ display (Resolution: 1366 x 768)
  • 1.6 GHz Core i5 / 1.7GHz Core i7
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 300GB HDD with 20GB SSD / 240GB SSD
  • Webcam (Resolution: 1280 x 1048)
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • Ports: 2-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC), 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x HDMI
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November 15, 2011 by thewheat

Convergence 2011: From Success to Significance – Recordings

Convergence Logo
I had the pleasure to help out at Convergence 2011 and thought I would record it as I do most events I’m involved with. Enjoy the dialogue and some inspiring stories from the speakers..

Host / Moderator: Delwin Keasberry aka @BruneiTweet

Emcee: Nadzri Harif aka @NADZtheNADZ

Speakers at the Event

  • Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop (@Norali_AliYusop): an education officer at the Special Education Unit (Ministry of Education)
  • Dato Hamdillah, a local entrepreneur with interests across a number of industries
  • Lai Pei-Si, Chief Executive Officer and Head of Consumer Banking for Standard Chartered Bank Brunei.

Recordings
Download All

  1. Opening Remarks from ProjekBrunei.com
    Delwin Keasberry
    (Download)
  2. Opening Remarks from BMW
    Clement Chong
    (Download)
  3. Introduction of the Speakers
    Nadzri Harif
    (Download)
  4. Dialogue Introduction
    Delwin Keasberry
    (Download)
  5. Describe Yourself in 5 Words
    Dato Hamdillah, Lai Pei-Si, Norali Yusop
    (Download)
  6. Word Association – Music. Delicious. Brunei. Success. Significance
    Dato Hamdillah, Lai Pei-Si, Norali Yusop
    (Download
  7. What Has Changed in the Past 16 Years?
    Dato Hamdillah
    (Download
  8. Why Did you Move from Comfort to Something Unknown and What Was it Like?
    Lai Pei-Si
    (Download
  9. What it’s Like as a Blind Person?
    Norali Yusop
    (Download
  10. What Would You Say to The 65 Year Old?
    Norali Yusop
    (Download
  11. What Would You Say to 18 – 65 Year Olds Considering Chasing Their Dreams and Steping Out of Their Comfort Zone?
    Lai Pei-Si
    (Download
  12. What Would You Say to The 18 Year Old?
    Dato Hamdillah
    (Download)
  13. Did your Previous Roles Help you become an Entrepreneur?
    Dato Hamdillah
    (Download)
  14. What is Success? How Do You Balance Family and Work Life?
    Lai Pei-Si
    (Download
  15. What are you Daily Difficulties Getting Around in Brunei. What Kind of Changes would you Like to See to be More Independent?
    Norali Yusop
    (Download)
  16. Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone: What Have You Got To Lose?
    Dato Hamdillah, Lai Pei-Si, Norali Yusop
    (Download)  
  17. Closing Remarks
    Delwin Keasberry
    (Download)
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October 21, 2011 by thewheat

Brunei Online – Social Media: That’s Where it’s @ Recordings

Download all

1) The Backbone for Social Media (mp3 download link)

Speaker:
Lim Ming Soon of Telbru

2) Dude, Where’s My Traffic? (mp3 download link)

Speakers:
Rano Iskandar of ranoadidas.com / @ranoadidas
Delwin Keasberry of projekbrunei.com / @BruneiTweet
Dinoza Maruf of Breeze Magazine @dinoza
Moderator:
Azhani Abu Daniel of EmmaGoodEgg.com / @emmagoodegg

3) 140 Characters or Less: Why Join the Twitter Conversation? (mp3 download link)

Speaker:
Dato Timothy Ong @Timothy_OngTM
Moderator:
Hj Rozan Yunos of Brunei Resources / @bruneiresources

4) From Idea to Enterprise: What Does it Take? (mp3 download link)

Speakers:
Keeran Janin of MeSixty / @keeranj
Simon Soo of MixMedia International (MINT)
Moderator:
Mr Tom

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October 18, 2011 by thewheat

Streaming KristalFM on iOS Devices (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch)

So recently KristalFM relaunched their website with the ability to listen through webstreaming but alas they forget that not all devices have Flash.

So based on Zulfadly’s request and some research and my previous research for streaming UBDFM on iOS device here is the same method but for Kristal FM

  1. Open Safari
  2. Go to http://202.152.84.115:801/kfm(open in a new page/tab)
  3. Click done, and add it to the Home Screen

This URL should work in any stream application (VLC for Windows, OSX, Linux / StreamFurious for Android). Hope that helps people

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October 16, 2011 by thewheat

Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman available in Brunei for B$350 at Incomm and QQeStore

Seems like a great budget Android phone with a slightly larger screen than the Xperia Mini pro but without a keyboard to make it more svelte. Seems to share all the same common good specifications for a budget phone but a slightly larger screen and slightly cheaper at B$350.

Quick Specifications

  • Android 2.3
  • 320 x 480 pixels, 3.2″ capacitive screen
  • 1GHz Processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 320MB for applications
  • 5 megapixel camera w/ 720p video
  • Front facing VGA camera
  • xLOUD™ loudness enhancement makes it possible to listen loud without distortion.
  • Full specifications / details at Sony Ericsson / GSM Arena
    Buy at Incomm or QQeStore

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    August 20, 2011 by thewheat

    Corner Geeks 9: Live Streaming setup for Ran8adidas

    Play

    Show Notes

    What we wanted

    • Live streaming of the event
    • Video
      • multiple cameras if possible
      • perhaps one overview shot
      • one on-the-go camera following events like the Twitter hunt. Follow contestants around “Amazing Race” style
    • Sound
      • clean sound from the mixer for opening ceremony / speeches
      • also want to capture atmosphere/sound around the camera
    • Internet
      • need for streaming
      • simplest of them all. 3G dongle
    • Master control at the laptop controllilng the stream / switching audio and video accordingly

    Mobile video

    • DSLR / camcorder approach:
      • Possible but need wireless transmitters making it cumbersome
      • DSLR sensor limited time
    • Keep-it-Simple-Stupid approach:
      • Use smartphones with Wifi and cameras
      • Small, simple, only need wireless access point if needed
      • Possible to attach external microphone to device for interviews
      • Advantages
        • Can move around freely
        • Requires no additional hardware for video capture hardware on computer.
        • Fairly cheap and easy to setup if you already have the devices (more people have smartphones now)
      • Disadvantages
        • Latency
        • Lower quality?
        • Potentially unreliable connection vs wires? Wireless inteference. Network going down?
        • No zoom!
      • Mobile Video apps

        • IP Webcam
          • Android
          • Free
          • Starts a webserver on camera device. Accessible from any computer on the network. View and listen in a browser
        • PocketCam (Desktop software)

          • iOS / Android
          • US$4.99 / BND$6
          • Windows or OS X software to be installed on the host
          • Creates video and audio device driver on host. Once connected access like a webcamera and USB mircophone
          • Audio lag!
        • WebCamera
          • iOS / Blackbery / WinMo / Symbian
          • US$2.99 / US$19.95 / US$19.95 / US$9.95
          • Works similar to PocketCam: Windows or OS X software to be installed on the host
          • Used iOS version that can take video and photo from camera and it will send it to host computer
        • There are other apps for Android and iOS but many do not provide audio which is what we wanted
      • Multiple Camera feasibility study
        • IP Camera: separate VLC instance for each video and each audio for each camera. Gets complicated very fast
        • Pocket Camera / WebCamera: only one PocketCamera / Webcamera host software allowed to run at one time on one machine
        • Not possible to use multiple cameras using only one app. Mixer and match is possible
        • Needed proper communication between in-the-field camera user and master control

    Sound

    • Input from mixer via line-in on laptop (not don’t have get a USB sound card)
    • LadioCast for audio mixing and piping of audio. Can even monitor sound without sending it to live stream

    Internet

    • Needed wireless coverage
    • Used iPod Touch as a WiFi signal monitor. Activated voice control, tap the wireless signal to hear the strength level (probably there is an app for this but did not explore)
    • To forgoe a 3G router: OS X Internet sharing (Connetify.me for Windows)

    Other things we used

    • Phone holder to tripod mount
    • Tripod: can place camera in certain places. Can extend tripod to get different angles
    • Charging cables! Must remember to charge mobile devices. iPod Touch 4G lasted about 2 hours of streaming

    Final Setup

    • iOS Webcamera easiest to work with
    • CamTwist to add overlays
    • Ladiocast to pipe audio. Connected to mixer when needed. Add microphone from the mobile cameras when interviewing / asking questions
    • Tripod to place camera so no need to be there
    • uStream to send out stream and record it

    Other Considerations

    • Phone upgrades:
    • Have a sign that says, “we’re streaming live”. While recording I was thinking of the implications of this for privacy
    • Have a dedicated chat room to interact with the viewers. At least had a screen of some hashtag that we could sometimes show on twitter.
    • Get better upstream for better video and audio
    • Have a dedicated screen / projector / laptop on our booth showing what’s streaming.
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